I’m never buying another Samsung phone, but you still should

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
A Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

Samsung has broken my heart. I’ve owned three of the company’s smartphones over the years – and tried out many more – and I’ve long raved about them. While I have issues with the company's decision to offer different chipsets in different regions for the Galaxy S line, for the most part I consider their best phones to be the best phones, period.

That’s why right now my main handset is a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, bought with my own money. But this might be the last Samsung phone I ever buy, because no matter how much I try to love it, it doesn’t love me back.

My relationship started with the Samsung Galaxy S2, a fantastic Android phone from 2011, and one that I wasn’t alone in my admiration of, as it achieved a coveted five-star review on TechRadar.

We had many happy days together, until one fateful afternoon I spilled a small quantity of water on it. This of course was entirely my fault, and it was in the days before water resistance was a common feature.

With that in mind I can’t be too hard on my Galaxy S2 for playing up ever since, yet the quantity of water was so small that its impact did make me think twice about Samsung phones for a while.

Second chances

A Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge from the front, outside

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was a smartphone classic - but it let me down (Image credit: TechRadar)

I had a brief affair with the Nexus 4 and dabbled with HTC, but then the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge came along, and proved irresistible.

But that Edge hurt me more than the Galaxy S2 ever did, because just one year into its life it stopped working completely. After sending it off for repair things seemed good again, for a time, but then it developed a large black area in the top right corner of the screen, which was tough to ignore.

Eventually I passed it on to an acquaintance, and from what I gather it enjoyed a long life with them, without developing any further issues. But by then I’d moved on to Honor, and then for a while thought I might have found the one with OnePlus, but I once again found myself returning to Samsung,

Strike three

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has proven ultra problematic for me (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

This time it was the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. The most expensive phone I’d ever bought, and the most beset by problems.

First, just six months or so in, it started slowing to a crawl. Closing all the background apps mostly resolved the issue, but it would inevitably return a day or two later. This continued for weeks before eventually stopping – perhaps the cause was a rogue app that received an update, I’m not sure, but things briefly returned to normal after that.

It wasn’t long though before my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra would start getting choosy about charging. Sometimes it would charge just fine, other times it would do so at a crawl, stop charging despite being plugged in, or just refuse to start in the first place. I worried that the port was damaged, but this issue seemingly resolved itself after a while as well.

Then, most recently, the camera started playing up. Now if I use the main lens to photograph something more than a meter away, it will usually come out blurred. A search of forums for similar issues revealed that banging the side of the phone once or twice will usually resolve the problem – but only temporarily.

This issue is ongoing, and in a handset that I paid quadruple digits for and have only had for around 18 months. And while I adore Samsung phones for their specs and features, none of the handsets I’ve owned from other brands have developed any significant issues.

So with that my love affair with Samsung phones is over, and as much as I’d like to – and will miss the likes of 10x optical zoom – I don’t think I can buy another one.

It's not Samsung, it's me

A Google Pixel 6 from the back, stood on a table next to a vase

The Pixel 6 is one of many non-Samsung phones to develop issues (Image credit: Future)

But you still should – all of these issues are anecdotal, and a quick Google search will reveal numerous people reporting problems with any phone.

Many of these issues may not be widespread, but then every now and again you get the likes of the iPhone’s bendgate, batterygate and antennagate controversies.

Or in Android land there's the myriad of issues faced by the Google Pixel 6 more recently. So Samsung isn’t alone in selling sometimes-suspect smartphones.

I also know plenty of happy Samsung Galaxy owners who’ve never experienced a fault - so perhaps the issue isn't Samsung, but me.

You could be unlucky with any brand, then, and chances are you’ll be just fine with Samsung - after all, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra ranks among the best phones for a reason. But me and Samsung, we just don’t work.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.